English Literature Analyses with MindMaple

School has been in session for about a month. How are you/your students/your children doing with their assignments? If they are anything like me when I was a kid, writing assignments are put aside until the last possible moment. As a student, writing about books you’re told to read for class is not fun nor easy. However, students of today have what I did not when I was a student: mind mapping software.

I did a quick analyses on “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald using MindMaple, just to see how long it would take. I analyzed the characters, their roles, their relationship with each other, and the themes of the story. Essentially, I would be using the half hour or so I would be using trying to organize my notes on creating a mind map. Of course, if you want your mind map to look as intriguing as the story is, you need more time. On the plus side, if the assignment was to summarize “The Great Gatsby”, I already have it done and looking pretty.

Have a look and let me know what grade you think I would get if I had submitted this mind map as my homework. You can download the mind map template here. If you haven’t downloaded MindMaple for your computer or device yet, visit our website for free and premium mind mapping software.

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Staying Productive this Summer

Students and instructors: you’ve made it. It’s finally summer. Congratulations on finishing another successful semester/quarter. You’ve got at least two months of freedom ahead of you, and staying productive with few obligations can be very difficult.

Using a handy mind mapping software like MindMaple for Windows or iPad, lay out your many options. We’ve created a template to get you started with a few ideas on staying productive in your downtime.

Stay productive this summer with MindMaple

This summer, your options are endless, but it’s important to use your time wisely and continue to build upon your current skill set.

  • Finding a job is one of the standard options. Summer jobs can often be in short-supply, but many places hire short-term positions. Use any of the sites listed in the template, or apply at your local movie theatre or amusement park. Seasonal workers are always needed.
  • Get an internship. If you’re in college, or close to it, a internship is one of the best ways to gain new skills and hone in on your current set. The closer you are to completing your undergrad, the more important it is to consider this option, especially considering the high competition for entry-level jobs.
  • Volunteer. Giving back to your community is one of the best things you can do this summer. Not only is it incredibly helpful to many organizations with limited budgets, it’s beyond rewarding to know you’ve made a difference.
  • Take a course at your community college or local community center. If you’ve always wanted to learn how to cook, or maybe sculpture has always piqued your interest, there’s no better time to enroll in a class you may not be able to during the school year.
  • Last, but certainly not least, read that novel you’ve been putting off. Review the lists linked in the template for good places to start, or ask a friend for recommendations. Many students and instructors find it difficult to squeeze leisurely reading into their packed schedules; using summer vacation to turn a few hundred – or thousand – pages is a wise decision.

What are your plans for staying productive this summer? Did you procrastinate on spring cleaning?

Download our mind map template here. If you haven’t downloaded MindMaple for your device yet, you can visit our website for free and premium mind mapping software.

Color Code Your Mind Maps

Mind mapping itself is considered an effective way of organizing your thoughts. But there’s another thing you can add to your mind map to make it a very effective visual map of your thoughts. Color coding.

You might start thinking of that time when all of your notes became a jumble of colors. That’s one form of color coding, just not the best example. When done in moderation, color coding your notes can help you and your information be even more organized.

Take a look at this Civil War Timeline template for example:

Civil War Timeline template using MindMaple

Civil War Timeline template using MindMaple

 
Victories and significant events in favor of the Confederates are in blue, while victories and significant events in favor of the Union are in red. Neutral events with significance are marked in gray but emphasized to differentiate from additional information added for depth. MindMaple’s various style options allows you to customize the colors and styles of the information in your mind map to your preferences with ease.

What’s the most effective color code for your mind map?

Collaborate in Real Time with MindMaple Pro v1.5 (Beta)

MindMaple  is constantly working toward providing innovative features for its users and their mind maps, so when you asked for real-time editing, we listened. MindMaple Pro v1.5 is currently in Beta testing and free to try until the final version is released . Users with the Beta version installed may collaborate in real time using MindMaple and Google Drive.

Using our new collaborative feature is simple and efficient. Are you working on a study guide with a classmate and need a dynamic way to edit notes and present information? Managing a  project at work with your team of three? Compiling an office schedule with multi-departmental contributors? MindMaple’s dymanic mind mapping capabilities and new real-time editing function will make all of these tasks and more a breeze.

How do you plan to use our new collaborative function? Are you an early adopter who’s already tested it and have feedback for our product development team? Contact us here, or at support [ a t ] mindmaple . com with your thoughts.

Download MindMaple v1.5 Beta Here

MindMaple Collaborative User Manual

5 Reasons to Use Images and Colors in Your Mind Maps to Maximize Benefits!

Mind mapping serves as a very helpful tool to organize ideas and increase productivity and creativity.  Furthermore, the use of images and colors enhance your maps and really bring them to life.  Not only are they pleasing to the eye, but they provide valuable ways to retain more of the information and expand on ideas.

Here are reasons that images and colors can help you to maximize your mapping experience:

  1. Using images and colors help you to retain information better than words alone.  Our minds will attach easier to them, since they are “pretty.”
  2. Using different colors for the branches allow you to distinguish the branches from one another.
  3. You can use the same color for multiple branches to show relations between them.
  4. Images serve as symbols to represent additional thoughts and concepts.
  5. Using images and colors spark more interest and creativity when creating your mind maps.  They can make you feel more excited about the topic as well.

Cupcakes!

Everyone loves cupcakes, but I bet most people don’t spend much time thinking about the “cupcake industry” or the ingredients that make cupcakes possible. However, that’s not the case for Jason at the blog Frugal Dad. In the following infographic he shares a lot of information about cupcakes and their ingredients.

You might not think such a topic would make an interesting story, but the quality of the visual information makes the graphic really fun to explore! Just another example of the power of visual information.

Enjoy! And don’t forget to treat yourself to a cupcake this weekend.

The Power of Visual Information

Mind mapping is a powerful tool in large part because it allows us to organize information visually. Many of our widely-used communication tools are verbal– email, word processors, reports, phone communication– and we often forget the great power of visual communication. As children, we learned to understand the world visually long before we learned to communicate with language.

Mind mapping allows us to use our brain’s powerful visual processing abilities to organize information and solve problems in ways we might never have discovered otherwise.

The other day I came across a chart that truly shows the power of visual information. Inspired by the famous statistician Edward Tufte, Zach Beane at www.xach.com created a method of illustrating the box office runs of the top 25 movies in America for an entire year’s worth of time. You can check out the charts he’s made at www.xach.com/moviecharts/. The following image is from the 2011 chart:

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Zach’s chart communicates so much information with a single image. Moving your mouse over one of the “streams” shows the movie title and total box office gross. His choice to use different colors lets you easily see how the performance of each movie changed as the weeks pass– some movies show a slow steady growth over many weeks, while other movies start strong but begin decreasing immediately.

Can you imagine trying to gather all this information from a spreadsheet or a list of numbers? The visual presentation makes the information so much richer and more exciting. Do you have any favorite examples of visual information?

Let your visual imagination go wild while you are using MindMaple and you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.